Question How can I safely upgrade my OS drive to m.2?

Feb 11, 2021
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Hello knowledgable people!


MY QUESTION: what is the safest way to move/copy/reinstall my OS (Windows 10) on to a new hard drive. I don't mind not being able to use the old OS HDD as storage, as it's very old and quite slow. Can I just copy the entire drive to a 1TB m.2 using some piece of software? is this safe or do I need to backup my OS drive beforehand (if so, what are some good, time-efficient ways to back up the entire drive? Currently, I just have crucial documents backed up on google drive, Icloud and an external SSD.)

Also, is there a way to only install and run the OS on the m.2 drive (that is to say, not install all the other data that is on the HDD, just only have an OS installed on the M.2 but still have access to all the same data and programs) and still use the HDD to access and run all the programs and data on it, or are the programs dependent on this being the boot drive or something, and so they wouldn't run? Is this basically what Dual Boot is? Is dual boot a good idea or is it to be avoided? Sorry, I'm a storage noob.

I don't mind paying some extra money to have the process be as speedy and pain-free as possible, as I don't have huge amounts of spare time unfortunately and need daily access to my computer (currently in the final year of my animation degree). I'm not overly concerned with squeezing every piece of extra performance I can get at the moment or anything, just safely and fairly cost-effectively making my OS drive less likely to fail and less painfully slow...

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:

I'm running my OS (Windows 10) off a 7200RPM 1TB hard drive that is about 7 or 8 year old, and would like to upgrade to a 1TB NVME SSD (unless there's a better option I'm unaware of). I have 2 M.2 slots on my motherboard (Asus ROG Strix Z390-F) so that's not a worry. I've never cloned a hard drive or done much with hard drives/storage. I have a registered copy of windows, which is tied to a windows ID email. I also have a (cheapo) 240GB SSD and 2TB HDD in the system as well as a 240GB external SSD, if that's important. I built my computer myself, and have upgraded it, taken it apart and put it back together a few times, so I'm fairly hardware literate, but I'm not great with software that doesn't involve digital painting or 2D animation.

thank you so much for your help, sorry if I've been unclear on anything, I've tried my best to understand storage stuff from researching it, but it confuses me honestly.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Details needed.

What size is the current HDD C drive?
How much space is consumed on it?
What make/model/size SSD are you contemplating?
Please show us a screencap of the current Disk Management window.
 
Feb 11, 2021
3
0
10
0
Details needed.

What size is the current HDD C drive?
How much space is consumed on it?
What make/model/size SSD are you contemplating?
Please show us a screencap of the current Disk Management window.
. as I said the current size of the C drive is 1TB.
. Currently, about 860GB of the space is being used, including space from formatting and OS.
I'm currently contemplating something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/WD-Blue-NAND-Internal-SATA/dp/B073SB2MXT/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=1tb+M.2+SSD&qid=1613084098&sr=8-4&th=1
. here is the disk management screenshot: View: https://i.imgur.com/wLroBoy.jpg
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
139,238
7,426
166,440
21,431
-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 
Feb 11, 2021
3
0
10
0
-----------------------------
Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
-----------------------------
Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
Thank you very much for these specific steps :)
 

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